ANALYSIS OF MEDIEVAL DRESS FITTINGS FROM THE MUSEUM OF LONDON.

Author(s): P Wilthew, S Wilthew

Over 200 non-ferrous metal medieval dress fittings were analysed. A quantitative microanalysis system was used to analyse four gold rings, but qualitative X-ray fluorescence was used to analyse the other objects. No sample preparation was used in either case. The compositions of the copper and lead/tin alloy objects are described in terms of broad alloy types and comments are made about the alloys used for particular groups of objects. Some groups were found to have fairly consistent compositions (within the limits of themethod used). Among the copper alloy objects these included bells, headdresses and mounts all of which wereconsistently brass. Of the lead/tin objects, bells, studs and strap ends were generally tin, whereas mirror cases and brooches were pewter. Other groups were of variable composition and the interpretation of the results may be clearer when more archaeological and typological information is available. Qualitative analysis (subject to the uncertainties introduced by lack of surface preparation) of the gold rings are given. In three cases the gold was heavily debased by silver and copper giving an alloy containing about 45%-55% gold. The mount on the fourth ring was ofsimilar composition but the ring itself was less debased(about 75% gold).

Report Number:
43/1986
Series:
AML Reports (New Series)
Pages:
18
Keywords:
Copper Alloy Lead/Tin Alloy

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